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Post  cdk71 on 3/31/2011, 9:40 am

I built my 4x4 and filled it with mel's mix and added the wooden lathe exactly as the book states. By rotating corners, I do not have 48 inches on the inside of the frame. I have lost the width of one 2x6 (1.5 inches). Then when I add the lathe, I lose another 1.5 inches. The end result is that now my grids are only 10.5 inches instead of 12. Now if I am planting Broccoli, I don't see that being a problem, 1 plant per sgft but carrots are not going to maximized at 16 per sqft. I have tried to follow Mel's direction specifically. How do I follow his directions and get a full 12 inches on all my grids?
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/31/2011, 10:03 am

I think what you are finding is why some of us prefer string to lath. I know Mel recommends wood lath, but he does so for aesthetics. Any grid is a grid. Someone yesterday said they intend to use radishes as their gridwork!

That will get you a lot of your space back immediately. I wish I could help with the rotating corners and losing that inch and a half. I lost the same space. To me, though, it wasn't a big deal...spread it out over 4 feet or more and it becomes a minimal loss imo.

And, I agree with you on being inconsequential with broccoli. But, I don't know how much it would matter with leaf lettuces, peas, spinaches, or carrots. Heck, I have enough difficulty getting 16 into a full square.....but, I don't think it affects their growth much. The spacing Mel recommends surely has a +/- 10% margin for error.

I commend you for sticking so closely to the book/plan. I hope I helped ease your mind instead of agitated you further with my adjustments/thoughts.
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Post  Furbalsmom on 3/31/2011, 3:35 pm

When trying to make my first 4 by 4 SFG, using 48 inch lengths of wood, and rotating the corners, I too ended up with a 46 1/2 interior measurement per side. Shocked

I was frustrated when trying to figure out why my squares were not exactly 1 square foot. I finally marked my squares by dividing the distance by 4, and giving myself permission for that to be OK.

Each square would then be about 11.6 inches per side. This still allows you to plant approximately 3 inches apart and get your 16 plants in a square. (off by only 0.10 inch per plant)

If you really want a 48 inch interior length, you can cut your 2 in by 6 inch boards at 49 1/2 inches to allow for the thickness of the wood, but I really don't think this is necessary. Most boards come in 8, 10, or 12 ft lengths, so I would not bother to make them 49 1/2 inches, because you are wasting wood and it would cost more money.

As far as your grids, using lathe is really good looking, but then you may have to plant your carrots at about 2.5 inches instead of 3 inches. Most often this would not be a problem unless you grow really big carrots. Most radishes and carrots do not grow over 2 inches across.
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